chapter  1
27 Pages

A woman philosopher: why not?

These words, from a recent British newspaper feature about a Harvard professor, contain plenty of food for thought. The genre is familiar enough: in an article combining exposition and interview, we expect a few words of stage setting to establish a ‘personality’ for our subject. Still, we might wonder how exactly these details of the professor’s physical presence are supposed to bear on his identity as a ‘man drawn to big ideas’. The beard (as shown in the original article) is short, neat and unspectacular; the eyes are indeed a lively shade of blue, though the electricity, naturally, has to be taken on trust. What we have to infer is simply that our correspondent, face to face with this particular fellow-human, is ready and willing to experience the moment as one in which he is being granted access to a world of creative brilliance.